Nigerian Hate Speech Bill
In November 2019 Nigerian Senator Aliyu Abdullahi proposed the National
Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill, 2019. The Bill has proven to
be controversial, however Senator Abdullahi maintains that the Bill is necessary to
curb hate speech which the Senator holds as a cause of depression and suicide in
The initial reading of the Bill included the death penalty as a sanction for hate speech
which results in a loss of life. However, following both political and community
backlash the death penalty was removed.
Critics of the Bill claim that it is a move to censor social media and freedom of
expression in Nigeria. Despite the mounting criticism, Minister of Information and
Culture, Lai Mohammed, reaffirmed the government’s desire to regulate social media
in order to curb false news and hate speech.
The Bill has passed its first reading in Parliament in 2019 and faced a public hearing
in early February 2020. At the hearing the Bill was presented to the public and expert
panellists including former Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC), Professor Chidi Odinkalu. The panellists resoundingly
shunned the Bill as being tailored to curb freedom of expression.
The Bill has yet to undergo its second reading in Parliament and no date has yet
been revealed for the second reading. However, the Bill will inevitably undergo some
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